Finch is the Homer of long-haul truckers as they drive by night--and day--and night, crossing the country in 50 hours, Frisco to Boston on a glide of uppers--Black Beauties, Big Reds, Greenies, Hummers, Turnaround Specials--pills that straighten the hairpin turns. Then to catnap, load up and barrel their projectiles to Dallas or Chicago and home again to California in another 50 hours. A 26-year-old sportswriter, Finch has the energy and detail to keep his melodrama moving toward some jackknife cataclysm that never quite happens but which keeps you worried all the way. J. W. Pickett has been charging back and forth for 29 years as a self-employed loner who dresses like a dude behind his big wheel but now is experiencing an inner washout--What's it all for? He still hasn't saved any money, his wife and foster kid rarely see him, and now she has a late pregnancy and he's not home when she needs him. When J.W.'s son has an accident that demands brain surgery, the trucker decides to retire from the road with a farewell haul of big-money cocaine for the Mob. He is accompanied by a young college grad named Lennie, who has taken up trucking for kicks and worships J.W. as the last of the oldtime giants. During the last haul Lennie manages to work in some romance while J.W. plans to outfox the Mob for a really big killing. It's all here--the lingo, the brag, the big meals, the roar of the diesel and the long white line.